Last week I heard the very sad news that Dave Jennings, a very good friend of mine, had passed away from a heart attack outside his flat in Bradford.
I’ve known Dave for several years, initially through friends who were in the musicals society but since 2009 we have been on a regular pub quiz team together at the university.
Though originally from the Bradford area, Dave’s early career was in London, working as a music journalist for Melody Maker magazine. It was there that he reviewed a song by the band ‘Darlin’, which he described as a ‘daft, punky thrash’. Two of the former members of Darlin’, Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter, went on to form Daft Punk, and the rest is history.
Melody Maker closed in 2000 and Dave returned north, eventually enrolling as a mature student on a course at the University of Bradford where I work. He graduated with a first class honours degree in 2006.
During his time at the university he was involved in both the theatre group and later the musicals society. Indeed, he was due to play the role of Orin Scrivello, the dentist in Little Shop of Horrors, but sadly he passed away before the last dress rehearsal. Thankfully, another member of the society stepped up and the show was performed as planned.
Outside of the university he has been a regular extra in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale, often in the background of the Woolpack having a drink. His acting showreel from 2009 is here to watch. And recently he had made a return to music journalism, doing some freelance articles for The Girls Are, and has learnt to play the banjolele, as evidenced in this video.
Dave was also a big geek, like me, particularly when it came to Doctor Who. In fact he shared a birthday with John Barrowman (Captain Jack) and Alex Kingston (River Song). For our wedding, where the photo was taken, he had a Mr Flibble hand puppet commissioned for us, which I’ve been using as my Twitter avatar for some time.
There have been few times over the past six days when I have not been reminded of Dave and the things that he did. Whether it was constantly beating me on Words with Friends with his superior vocabulary, talking about music or the latest Doctor Who episode, or our mutual enjoyment of the Steampunk subculture. Dave will be very much missed by both myself and his large group of friends. He was such a lovely and friendly person and a real shame that his passing has come so soon.